13 Apr 2022


Prevention Drug Trafficking in Urban Areas

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Academic level: College

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Drug trafficking is a global illegal trade entailing the cultivation, production, distribution as well as trading of illicit substances that are subject to drug prohibition acts. It is often perceived as a critical threat to a country’s security and hence carries severe penalties in several nations. In some countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, China and America, sentencing may entail death penalties, incarceration and even flogging. Furthermore, if the substances are sold to the young population, then the penalties for smuggling may be crueler than in other circumstances. According to the 2016 United States Office on Drugs and Crimes reports, approximately between 172million and 250 persons around the globe used a drug in the previous year. Cannabis is among the most used drugs especially among the youth and older adults. 

In 2007, UNODC report showed that about 3.3-4.4 percent of the people aged between 15-64 years reported having engaged in drug abuse in the previous year. Other commonly used drugs include amphetamine-type stimulants, cocaine, heroin, opiates and marijuana among others. As a result, the global community has renewed its obligation to tackling the global drug trafficking issue over the next decade. Policymakers continue to engage in all activities aimed at diminishing demand for illegal drugs which involves designing primary, secondary and tertiary plans of prevention. Hence, a lot of effort goes into handling illegal drug trafficking.

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This paper seeks to identify primary, secondary and tertiary plans that can be put in place by various countries to help tackle drug trafficking issues in populations that is either indulging in drug trafficking and abuse or not critically involved with illicit drugs. The paper presents a review and description of primary, secondary and tertiary plans backed up by extensive research, a critical examination of a focal point for prevention at local, national and global level to enable communities to build their capacities for prevention. 

Primary prevention Plan: Drug production and Developmental initiatives

Illegal drugs are not dangerous just because they are prohibited, but they are rather illegitimate because they are dangerous. The global drug dilemma is intertwined with all factors of sustainable developments. Sustainable development entails social, economic, environmental and global partnership that often play a vital role in combating the drug trafficking menace. Today, most of our communities do not engage in substance abuse or drug trafficking, but all of them, especially the poorest and the youth, are vulnerable to misuse, addiction and trafficking. Although the fight against drug trafficking is often hindered by the linkage to terrorism, strategies that aim at eradicating production of narcotics such as coca growth and promoting developmental initiates at the local and national seem to yield some fruits. Moreover, efforts to eliminate illegal crops can further impact the economic development of farmers. Reports indicate that alternative livelihoods such as those in Peru have yielded effective development programs that seem to weaken drug trafficking businesses. 

There is also a strong relationship between the economic status of a country and the production of illicit drug crops in those nations, implying the significance of emphasizing on the alternative development policies. For instance, around 500 cities in Mexico are known to participate in drug trafficking, and more than half a million persons are employed by drug trafficking organizations. Furthermore, more than 3.2 million of the total population is dependent on the drug trafficking cartels. Drug trafficking groups have become critical in local economics since a percentage of the income is often invested in the local communities. Profits made from the illegal activities are channeled into the education as well as the healthcare services of the society. Whereas these groups bring numerous hazards including organized crimes into the communities, they blind the local people by creating jobs and providing sources of income for its poor populations. 

Different levels of economic well-being of a country also tend to have an impact on the type and extent of drug trafficking. For instance, America, the link between drug use and trafficking and lack of employment is stronger in the case of cocaine than other types of drugs. National socio-economic plans should, therefore, be implemented to provide alternative sources of income to the contested areas. Additionally alternatives livelihoods ensure that drug cultivation and production-free surroundings are socioeconomically stable. Hence the primary strategies should aim to combat drug production and promoting developmental initiatives both at the national and international levels. 

Secondary plan: The rule of law and justice

For decades, drug production has been known to occur in the most insecure areas of countries. The growing trends of the global criminal activities facilitated by porous borders, weak immigration policies, terrorism, rogue states, financial technology as well as a complex and accessible global transportation infrastructure further challenge the security measures undertaken by the national governments. Furthermore, there is need to tackle corruption both at the local, national and international levels. Massive corruption facilitated by weak legal systems in many nations, especially in developing countries has provided a lucrative platform on which drug barons thrive. In some cases, the drugs traders also tend to bribe administrative officers at the borders to allow them to transport the drugs to other countries. This is often blamed on the low wages paid to the officers. Therefore, the national governments should economically empower the law administrators by increasing their salaries to ensure economic sustainability. Regarding corruption, the national level, the federal government should adopt strict laws against numerous acts of corruption, in particular among the public service. 

The political environment in some countries has also facilitated to the growth of drug-linked activities. The weak regulations over the cultivation, production and transportation by federal governments such as the Mexican government have escalated drug trafficking activities across its borders. The policies and laws of tolerances by the local leadership have made drug barons wealthier and influential like never before. For instance, many security legislation and policies lack stability in most of the drug-dominated states such as Mexico, Netherlands, Colombia and Afghanistan among others. This, therefore, requires reflecting on the new laws and policies that are intolerant to drug traffickers and political corruption that forms a basis of drug trading activities. Law enforcements interventions also aim at restoring justice and accountability that provides the basis for good governance and sustainable developments. 

With this in mind, governments should foster the rule of law to help combat cultivation and production of illicit drugs by reinforcing a democratic security strategy that aims at confronting illegal drug farmers and enhancing public safety. Governments should utilize further the global agencies and authorities that aim at combating drug problem by establishing laws regarding heightened punishment of drug trafficking. The security strategy plan should further focus on a combined action of both the local and national government, sequenced approach implemented in the most affected areas where illegal drug cultivation converge (Rosen & Zepeda, 2016).

Tertiary prevention plan : Global partnership

Commitment to the plans of joint as well as shared responsibility against drug trafficking should be reflected in global action to stop illegal drug criminals from accessing market networks. Drug trafficking organizations continue to thrive in the world’s illegal drug market, and it has been identified as one of the greatest organized crimes across the globe. As part of the tertiary plan, nations should engage in information exchanges worldwide, including between security administrators in both developing and developed countries. For instance, Colombia has been active in sharing critical information globally; this has helped combat cocaine trafficking to Europe from Mexico and the Caribbean via Africa. In developing countries, Sudan has made relentless efforts in fighting against drug trafficking across its borders by signing some bilateral agreements with over 21 federal governments in the field of security training and cooperation (Chard & Air University, 2016).

A primary emphasis on the tertiary strategy is to disrupt the existing drug barons’ networks, their financial dealings as well as dismantle the existing economic infrastructure that tends to support and finance these organizations. The global agencies responsible should focus on the drug policy enforcements efforts in diminishing of drug trading. This can be attained by disrupting as well as dismantling massive drug trafficking organizations including money laundering networks often operating globally and domestically. The investigations carried out by these agencies should further strive to identify connections among such organizations, from the global supplies to countrywide transportation cells, to continental and local distribution networks (Gaviria & Mejia, 2016).

Further, approaches to fighting drug trafficking are impossible without regard to the existing circumstances of countries. Beyond development policies, numerous factors, entailing geographic location, plays a critical role in shaping the illicit drug trafficking activities within a given nation. Proximity to an illicit drug-producing route or region can, for instance, escalated use of opiate in the South-west Asia and consumption of cocaine in Latin America and West Africa. Furthermore, drug markets are often influenced by social idiosyncrasies in developed as well as developing nations. Significant examples include the emergencies of hallucinogens in the main cities of North America as well as Europe. High consumption of NPS has also been witnessed in Japan and North America. Therefore, the linkage between development and drug trafficking problems should be viewed in dynamics aspects (Brownstein, 2016).

The international community should also unify laws that serve as a benchmark for an effective international framework against the drug trafficking. Without sufficient commitments, the strategies would rather become merely good white papers. For instance, for decades, Venezuela has been used as a key transit point for the transportation of illicit substances to lucrative markets in Europe and America. To eradicate these activities, Venezuela uses several forms of technology to fight illicit trade including installing scanners at the transit borders as well as putting up radars to help trace aircraft. The Venezuela Institute of Scientific Research, National Guard as well as National Drug Office have also developed tools and equipment to help identify various types of illicit substances. Furthermore, Venezuela has advanced drug incinerators that can destroy than 125kgs of illicit drugs per hour. Venezuela accomplishments were acknowledged by the United Nations, as replicated in its choice to host the World Anti-Drug Summit (Rosen & Zepeda, 2016).


Drug trade should not be treated with double standards. To fight drug trafficking, it is essential to first promote a more just as well as equitable global economic order. No nation can fight drug trafficking and smuggling alone. The fight should be based on the total respect of the supremacy and territorial integrity of the nations, and the understanding the drug challenge could be resolved by not only focusing on production and development initiatives but also on the rule of law and global partnership. In combating supply and demand of the illicit drugs, the global community needs to practice a spirit of shared responsibility. The producer and consumer nations should cooperate on the global approaches that diminish cross-border trafficking. Hence, redesigning of the existing world order, along with heightened international cooperation is necessary. 


Brownstein, H. H. (2016). The handbook of drugs and society. Chichester, West Sussex, UK ; Hoboken, NJ : Wiley Blackwell,

Chard, D., & Air University (U.S.). (2016). Mexican drug cartels and terrorist organizations, a new alliance?. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama : Air War College,

Gaviria, A., & In Mejia, D. (2016). Anti-drug policies in Colombia: Successes, failures, and wrong turns. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Rosen, J. D., & Zepeda, M. R. (2016). Organized crime, drug trafficking, and violence in Mexico: The transition from Felipe Calderón to Enrique Peña Nieto.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Prevention Drug Trafficking in Urban Areas.


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